Top News Pence Says U.S. Still Waiting on North Korea for ‘Concrete Steps’ to Denuclearize New York Times Russia, U.S. fail to save missile treaty, Washington to pull out Reuters Space-based interceptors and drones with lasers: the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Review wish-list revealed Defense News East Asia Pence Says U.S. Still Waiting on North Korea for ‘Concrete Steps’ to Denuclearize New York Times1/16/19 Vice President Mike Pence told American ambassadors on Wednesday that North Korea has failed to take any substantive steps to give up its nuclear weapons, even as President Trump is moving toward a second meeting with Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader. “While the president has started a promising dialogue with Chairman Kim,” Mr. Pence told the gathering at the State Department, “we still await concrete steps by North Korea to dismantle the nuclear weapons that threaten our people and our allies in the region.” U.S., South Korea Discussing Incentives for Kim in Nuclear Talks Bloomberg1/16/19 The U.S. and South Korea are discussing “corresponding measures” to reward North Korea’s steps toward denuclearization, South Korea’s foreign minister said, as President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un prepare for a possible second summit. Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha told a news conference Wednesday in Seoul that the allies were reviewing various packages of incentives that Washington could bring to the table in the meeting. Russia/FSU/Europe Russia, U.S. fail to save missile treaty, Washington to pull out Reuters1/16/19 The United States on Wednesday rejected a Russian offer to save a landmark treaty that keeps nuclear missiles out of Europe because it could not be properly verified, setting the stage for Washington to withdraw from the pact next month. After a meeting in Geneva between Russian and U.S. officials, U.S. Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thompson said Moscow was refusing to allow proper inspection of a new Russian missile system that Washington says breaks the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). Lavrov Says U.S. Out To Torpedo ‘Strategic Stability,’ Maintains Hard Line In Kuriles Dispute Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty1/16/19 Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused the United States of seeking to dismantle the system of weapons pacts and said that Moscow is willing to continue trying to preserve the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. Holding his annual press conference on January 16, Lavrov lashed out repeatedly at the United States amid severely strained relations between Moscow and Washington. U.S. Nuclear Policy Space-based interceptors and drones with lasers: the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Review wish-list revealed Defense News1/17/19 The long-delayed Missile Defense Review, which will be formally introduced by President Donald Trump at the Pentagon Thursday, will call for research and investments to ensure America’s security for the next several decades: laser technology, the F-35 as an ICBM killer, and potentially putting interceptors in space. Trump will roll out the report at 11 a.m. Thursday as part of his third visit to the Pentagon since taking office. Opinion and Analysis North Korean spy chief’s visit to Washington shrouded in mystery Washington PostJosh Rogin 1/16/19 Trump is determined to have a second summit with Kim, and nobody on his team could stop it even if they tried. So Trump’s officials must try to set him up for success while managing the North Koreans (and the South Koreans and Chinese) at the same time. It’s a near-impossible task even with good bureaucratic management, clear signaling and a knowledgeable president — none of which is present here. Special Interest Four Problems on the Korean Peninsula: North Korea’s Expanding Nuclear Capabilities Drive a Complex Set of Problems RANDGian Gentile, Yvonne K. Crane, Dan Madden, Timothy M. Bonds, Bruce W. Bennett, Michael J. Mazarr, and Andrew Scobell 1/15/19 North Korean provocations and threats have created an unstable environment on the Korean Peninsula. North Korea’s ongoing development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles increases the possibility of their use against regional states, furthering instability across the region and beyond. The United States, its allies, and other theater powers, including China and Russia, must attend to four interconnected threats. Failure to prepare will increase the chance of mistakes and miscalculation and constrain options to reduce the likelihood or gravity of future conflicts.